President Mbeki in the firing line

Advertisements appeared in South African newspapers yesterday calling on President Thabo Mbeki to get a grip on the alarming crime rate as he prepares for his yearly state of the nation speech.

Advertisements appeared in South African newspapers yesterday calling on President Thabo Mbeki to get a grip on the alarming crime rate as he prepares for his yearly state of the nation speech.

The PSG Group, a Cape Town-based financial service provider, published an open letter in which the company urged Mbeki to "show us you care", only days after one of the country's leading banks decided not to go ahead with a similar campaign.

"We can only contribute in a stable South Africa. Crime is now threatening the very fabric of our society," read the PSG advert.

""Show us that you care; you are serious about eradicating crime and you earnestly wish to protect South Africans against criminals and foreign gangs feasting on the innocent."

Mbeki has come under fire recently for stating that the majority of South Africans do not feel that crime is out of control.

First National Bank (FNB), which has a number of government departments among its clients, recently pulled a similar campaign urging readers to write to Mbeki after already paying R20 million in advertising space.

The bank reportedly backed down under pressure from fellow business leaders who were wary of angering the president.

In the ensuing furore, other business leaders have voiced their dismay over levels of crime. - Sapa-AFP

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